Tag Archives: Allium Purple Sensation

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2017

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I’ve just looked back at my GBBD post from a year ago and it’s all tulips with a few Narcissi – today’s is roses, poppies and pelargoniums.  What a mad spring!

The rose above is ‘Pat Austin’, the one below a bit of a family joke as I’m not a fan of red and so, when a builder chopped it back to ground level a few years ago I didn’t mourn.  However, since then it’s come back bigger and stronger, so I’ve given it a grudging acceptance.IMG_2563

And here’s ‘St Swithun,’ finally looking well established on the pergola. IMG_2571

There are a few more roses already in bud  so I’m starting to fret they’ll all be long gone by the garden opening at the end of June!

This little Cistus is also looking more summery than the calendar – but then so was today’s sunshine.IMG_2572

Having rested for only a couple of months the Leptospermum is back again.IMG_2552

By the front steps I’ve popped some bought Osteospermums into the big bath.  I like how the centres pick up the colour of the Pelagoniums behind.

Another daisy flower is the Erigeron karvinskianus growing in the crack at the bottom of the steps.  

Also near the steps is a lovely inherited Genista.

The first year we were here it flowered at the same time as the Callistemon, it’s planted next to and together they were quite a sight, but again this year it’s not to be.

Two Alliums flowering now.  The one on the left is called ‘Violet Beauty’ and was planted in the Drive Bed to flower with a similarly coloured tulip.  Not only did they not flower together last year, but this year only about three of the tulips returned, and not many more of the Alliums.

The one on the right is good old ‘Purple Sensation’ (being apparently strangled by the foliage of Allium Sphaerocephalon)

I bought a new Geum recently, ‘Prinses Juliana’ (the one on the right), to go in the Bronze Bed with ‘Pat’ (the rose).  I was perfectly happy with it until I read Sarah Raven talking about G. Totally Tangerine (the one on the left, which I had already in a pot on the barrow).  From these photos they don’t look that different, but she’s right, Totally Tangerine is a softer more subtle colour, and definitely a better match for Pat.  Darn!

More orange from this lovely little plant we brought back from Madeira just a week or so before I started this blog.  It hasn’t flowered for years but I’m delighted to see it blooming again.  I did find the name at one stage but have now lost it again.  Any clues?

Looking across the Lavender Bed to the Mid Century bed beyond I like how the Gladioli spires are repeated by the Foxgloves.

 

I love this little poppy.  I’ve gone a bit mad for them and have planted plenty, some grown from seed (including this one) and some bought as plugs.  Let’s hope it works!

At the back of the Swing Beds these Nicotiana mutablis are now over a metre tall.  I’m still a bit confused as to whether they self seeded, as they seemed to get going so early, it’s more like they overwintered,  There a definitely a few kicking about in seed trays that seem to have survived, so I’m thinking I should plant them out too.

There are a few Pelargoniums blooming now, including this one bought at our local Boot Fair and hence nameless.  It’s one of my favourites and I’m forever taking cuttings to increase my stock.

And this is another favourite – Surcouf, in the twin pots on the decking.  They’ve gone mad this year!

In the greenhouse the Sweet Peas are also going bonkers and I’ve picked a proper big bunch this weekend.

To finish I think my favourite bloom today.  This is Erysimum ‘Red Jep’ which I fell in love with when I saw it at Hyde Hall.  I found just one supplier and bought them online last year, but I note this year Sarah Raven has them too!  I’ve taken a few cuttings but I really must take more as already they’re looking a little woody at the base so I’m not sure how long they’ll continue to look so good.

With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts everyone’s GBBD.

 

In a vase on Monday – more golf flowers

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Another golfing event – the Captain’s Dinner – led to another request for flowers.  I have to say a couple of weeks ago I was less than enthusiastic as, to my eyes, the garden was full of dying bulb foliage and not much else, but things have definitely moved on, and in the end there was plenty to choose from.

I only needed to prepare eight table decorations, plus one larger one, so the pressure was off compared to the original set of 20 in October .  The first plant I have copious amounts of currently is Cerinthe purpurescens.  This has self seeded everywhere to the extent that cutting for the arrangements was actually beneficial to clear it away from paths and grass.

For the purple arrangements I started with the Cerinthe and added purple sweet peas (still the Winter Sunshine ones from the greenhouse), Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ and a few springs of lavender.IMG_0816

The pink arrangements contained Madame Gregoire Staechelin roses,  Euphorbia, Erysimum, Daucus Carota ‘Black Knight’ and a sweet pea that has self seeded in a large trough containing an Olive tree.  I think this is Lathyrus tingitanus which I grew two years ago in the greenhouse.  Quite how it’s found its way outside I have no idea, but I love the tendrils and its delightful colouring.  Sadly it has no scent.IMG_0817

The white and green contained more Euphorbia, as well as Matthiola incana, white Winter Sunshine Sweet Peas and a couple of Calendula buds.IMG_0818

And the carnival pink and orange pair had more Cerinthe, Geum ‘Totally Tangerine,’ buds of Rosa ‘Pat Austin’ and Pelargonium ‘Surcouf’IMG_0819

As well as the table decorations I threw together a larger arrangement which was designed around anything I could find that had some stem length.  The foliage was bronze fennel and black cow parsley (both of which seemed to be inclined to droop), with Euphorbia, larger heads of Daucus Carota,  Nectoscordum siculum, Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, Sisyrinchium striatum and Rosa ‘Snow Goose’.IMG_0808

With many thanks to Cathy for hosting this lovely meme.  Why don’t you see what others have in their vases this Bank Holiday?  Now I must get in the garden!

Yearly round up – 2015

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2015 was the first time I’d planted dozens of tulips directly in the Swing Beds, having previously faffed about planting them in pots and then moving them in and out.  And, in classic gardening happenstance, they didn’t flower as I’d planned at all!  The tulips I’d planted as mids, ‘Pink Impression’ (above) flowered first, and on their own, and then these were followed by (supposedly) April flowering ‘Mistress’ and May flowering ‘Menton’ flowering together (below). The whole show was an absolute joy.

This year I’ve planted more tulips, but in the two new beds, so time will tell as to how perennial these three in the Swing Beds out to be.IMG_7022

As well as the tulips I also planted more Alliums.  I found the new Alliums ‘Violet Beauty’, a little disappointing, but the extra A. Purple Sensation I added, were fabulous as ever.IMG_7231

And the Diving Lady got a new, early bath in the form of Iris reticulata ‘Blue Note’.

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As well as new bulbs, 2016 saw the creation of two new beds, firstly the ‘Mid Century Bed’, below, named after the lovely metal structure the OH bought me for my big birthday.

The theme was supposed to be bruised, purply colours, but, as with the bulbs, there was a welcome ‘mistake’ to enjoy in the form of this Ranunculus, theoretically ‘Purple Heart’, but I rather think not.IMG_7715

I planted some roses for this new bed too, including R. Jubilee Celebration (no, not very bruised either!)IMG_7967

and Rosa ‘Falstaff Climbing’ to grow up the obelisk, but the plant that really stole the climbing show this year was the ‘Rhodochiton atrosanguineus‘.

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The second new bed has a bronze or orangey theme.

 

Many of the plants were grown from seed, including this Nasturtium ‘Caribbean Crush’ and the beautiful grass Hordeum Jubatum.IMG_8240IMG_7930

There was another new rose here too, R. Pat Austin.IMG_8906

And later in the year the ridiculously floriferous Dahlia ‘Happy Singe Date’.  This just went on and on and formed the basis of numerous peachy vases of flowers.

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In June I opened the garden for the third time as part of a village group opening, in aid of the island’s Earl Mountbatten hospice.  I had over 150 visitors and some lovely comments.IMG_7889

Also in 2015 I was lucky enough to visit numerous gardens both on and off the island, including the Sir Harold Hillier garden in February (and again in August)IMG_0411

Arundel Castle in May,IMG_7089

Mottistone Manor in June,IMG_7677

Osborne House in (March and) August

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and Great Dixter IMG_9124

and Bodnant in October.2015-10-29 11.28.44 HDR

As well as my own garden and garden visiting, I dipped in and out of Cathy’s lovely ‘In  a vase on Monday’ meme, including sharing the saga of the wedding flowers 

as well as this group of vases created in October when the OH became captain of his golf club.IMG_9349

And, on the basis that it’s a very rare gardener that ever stops learning, I went on courses at Great Dixter, Common Farm Flowers and West Dean.  And then, to top it all, in September signed up for a Level 3 course in Plants and Planting Design at Capel Manor college, which I’m absolutely loving.  Which reminds me, I really need to get on with my holiday homework!

Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2016, and thank you so much for supporting Duver Diary with your views, likes and comments.

End of month view – May 2015

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Sadly the Swing Beds are currently having rather a lull after the gorgeous bulbs in evidence last month.  Whilst in April and early May they were bright with a succession of tulips, now, whilst the roses are starting and there is a vast amount to come, the main blooms are the rather quiet, understated Nectoscordum.

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I moaned about them last year, so I really think they’ve had their day and I should replace them with something jollier and more visible from a distance.  Shame Alliums don’t come in the shocking pink of the Pink Impression Tulips!

The right hand swing bed is showing a little more colour with the geraniums, Cerinthe and self seeded foxglove.IMG_7611

And it is lovely that the roses are finally making a real impression on the pergola (four years after planting).

You can also see the netting erected for the sweet peas.  They’re currently being a little shy and seem currently to have been rather stopped in their tracks by the shock of being moved out into the ground.IMG_7609

The Grass Beds, to the right of the Swing Beds, still have their rather exhausted forget me nots, and I really need to clear these to make way for some annual planting to take their place.  Last year I planted some seed grown perennial Verbascum chaixii album in this bed and they’ve come back better than ever.  Problem is, I’m not sure I really want them there…IMG_7612

The troughs are resplendent with last autumn’s planting of Allium Purple Sensation.  They’re growing amongst the gloriously scented stocks, Matthiola incana, but sadly are also accompanied by a rather tatty array of decaying daffodil foliage.  Last year I had the bright idea that I should turn the troughs around to hide the dying foliage at the back.  This would have been an absolutely brilliant solution if only we could have lifted the troughs!   Hopefully the foliage has now done its job, so shortly I should be clearing it to add some annuals for the summer.

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The Lavender Beds are rather dominated by the Erysimum Bowles Mauve, but hey, there are worse things…IMG_7597

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One bed I rarely show is the drive bed.  I planted new alliums here this year too, this time Allium Violet Beauty, which are slightly larger and paler than A. Purple Sensation.  Also, I moved numerous Sisyrinchiums here as they were threatening to take over the Swing Beds.  I was inspired by this vase, as I thought the Sisyrinchiums would echo the colour of the Rose, R. Snow Goose.  The Sisyrinchiums aren’t quite in flower, but I live in hope that the composition will work and be enhanced by the Alliums.  We’ll see (in a week or two…).

As for the self seeded Gladiolus byzantinus, well, I think I’ll leave them be for the minute.  But, ooh, light bulb moment, is this what I should be adding to jolly up the Swing Beds?IMG_7591

On the other side of the drive, the Cytisus is looking spectacular and the colour is now picking up on the buds and flowers of the inherited rose.

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Progress on the new beds is still reasonably slow.  The Mid Century bed has precisely two blooms, both Ranunculus I planted as bulbs.  They’re not exactly as ‘bruised’ as the planned colour scheme, but they’re the first I’ve ever grown, and I love them.IMG_7613

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Just as a little aside, in 2012 I visited the Flower Farm at Carlsbad, California, and the Ranunculus there were absolutely unbelievable – see photo from their website below.

I’d love to start a Ranunculus farm here, but really not sure the island can quite match the Californian climate…

Anyway, back to home.  The new Bronze Bed isn’t displaying anything in the way of blooms other than the Calendula Sunset Buff, sown last year.  Like the Swing Beds, there’s plenty to come, but I am starting to worry that the Hamamelis, now in leaf in the centre of this bed, is taking up too much room.  Hmmm.IMG_7592

On the far side of the lawn from the new Bronze Bed above, you can see how the over-the-road-Oak’s shadow almost completely covers the Oak Bed.  I really need to try to add some more interest here, but the lure of planning and planting the new Bronze Bed  – in almost full sun – is of course far greater.IMG_7594

Another shady area is this bed, running along the north side of the porch.  This has been completely given over to hostas, which are now bulking out nicely after three years.

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Meanwhile, in the veg bed, the canes are up and the first wave of peas and beans are in.IMG_7606

And to finish, a view of the utter chaos in front of the greenhouse.  These are just some of the seed trays, turfed out of the greenhouse and hardening off all over the gravel.

And no, I don’t know where they’re all going to go.  So don’t ask!IMG_7617

With many thanks to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting everyone’s End of Month Views.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2015

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Whilst there are a few tulips still clinging on, the majority of bulbs flowering now are Alliums. Above, Allium Purple Sensation, matching beautifully with the stalwart Erysimum Bowles Mauve behind. Funny, I don’t remember that combination last year, and yet they were both there!

In the Swing Beds, Nectoscordum siculum (not a true Allium, but in the family), are just starting to bloom.  Last weekend my daughter, old enough to know better, took great delight in peeling back some of the papery sheaths to help them on their way.  I think she missed this one.IMG_7237

In the Drive Bed, Allium Violet Beauty, planted new for this year.IMG_7223

Sharing the Drive Bed with the Alliums are these Erysimum Ivory GiantIMG_7210

and growing on the fence above, Rosa Snow Goose, in bud and fully open.IMG_7227IMG_7228

In the new Bronze Bed the Calendula I grew from seed last year, Calendula Sunset Buff, are one of the first things to flower.  I love the soft apricot colouring.IMG_7211

Annoyingly, not all of the seeds I planted seem to be Sunset Buff.  These two, whilst very jolly, were not what I had in mind for the bed, and so I’ve now moved them out to the raised cutting beds.

A few daffodils are still blooming, this one, the very late N. Sinopel is in the Grass Bed,IMG_7238

these are N. Bellsong, in the greenhouse pots,

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and these N. Lieke.IMG_7221

In the Oak Bed the broom is blooming.  It’s an inherited plant so I’m not sure which one it is, but Cytisus Scoparius Killiney Red looks similar.  There have been years when this flowers at the same time as the Bottlebrush it’s planted next to, but sadly not this year.IMG_7218

In one of the Lavender Beds, this little Cistus is looking happier than it has for a while – perhaps because of the hot dry April.IMG_7232

For scent I have to mention my stock flowers, Matthiola Incana.  I think this is my favourite garden scent of all, shame you can’t scratch and sniff!IMG_7233

And to finish, not yet a bloom, but oh what a pregnant bud!IMG_7234

With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens  for hosting everyone’s GBBD.

End of month view – yearly round up, 2014

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I’m following Helen at the Patient Gardener (a day late) with a rather indulgent ‘yearly round up’ in lieu of a normal ‘month end view’.

Some of these photos have been shown recently in my Plotting and Planning post (where I also included a garden plan), but whereas in that post there was often only one view of a given area, in this post, like in Helen’s, I’ve tried to include multiple views through the year.  Click on the thumbnails if you want to see larger pictures.

Firstly, the left hand swing bed.  There were a few daffodils early on (which don’t show up very well in the March shot) and these were followed by tulips in April.  Whilst I liked the bold red I found it clashed with pink tree blossom flowering at the same time, and so this year I’ve changed the colouring of the tulips for a (hopefully!) more harmonious spring.  Later in the year the Sisyrinchium were a dominant plant, but I felt too dominant and they have now been moved to the drive bed.  Later still there’s a good display from salvias and asters, but the flowers that kept going for the longest were definitely the Verbena bonariensis and the Penstemons – real stalwarts!

In the grass bed, the Stipa tenuissima is the constant, with bulbs, forget me nots and wallflowers early on, followed by alliums, fox and cubs and Verbascum chaixii album (grown from seed). These were followed later still by Nasturtium black velvet and Salvia viridis blue.  I’ve now thinned out a lot of the fox and cubs as I felt they weren’t really providing enough interest and think I’ll replace them with some annual planting for this summer.

Most of you will already have heard me bemoaning the oak bed.  It’s lovely early on, with daffodils and hellebores, but as the over-the-road-oak leafs up, the bed becomes very shaded and is a rather uninspiring group of shrubs (apart from my favourite Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy seen in purple at the bottom left in the July photo and glowing orange in October) .  My solution (for the time being) is to accept this and instead create a new bed, closer to the house, which will be out of the oak’s shadow and therefore much easier to succeed with.  Watch this space!

The shady bed, although equally shady, manages to be much more pleasing.  It doesn’t change much at all through the year but I like the  structure of the log and the foliage shapes.  (You may think I should be able to apply lessons from this bed to the oak bed, but we need height in the oak bed which the shrubs achieve in a way that, sadly, the shady bed planting wouldn’t, well certainly not instantly)

I’ve added some new bulbs to this bed for spring, and would also like to increase the range of ferns, but otherwise I think this bed will remain largely unchanged this year.

The hosta bed, which was created new in 2013, was doing fine right up until we had the house painted and there was a degree of ladder, scaffolding, and paint damage.  Ah well, makes a change from the slugs 😉

Near the hosta bed are the new raised cutting beds.  Although less shallow than ideal, they were very productive last year and I intend to repeat the idea again, but with some new annuals to play with.

The large galvanised troughs have effectively created a new, thin, bed in front of the decking. These were planted with two different Narcissus, Segovia then Minnow, as well as Allium Purple Sensation and Matthiola Incana.  And in the summer I added Cosmos Purity.

For next year I’ve topped up the Purple Sensation but am fervently hoping the narcissi will return!

My little veg patch is made up of three terraces, the lowest planted with strawberries and rhubarb, and the top one currently has some rather weedy chard.  The main bed shown here, is where I grow the bulk of my veg, this year peas, mange touts, sugar snaps, french beans, runner beans, pumpkin munchkin and courgettes, with a few soft fruits (raspberries, blackberries and tayberries) towards the back.

Other veg, along with hundreds (thousands?) of seeds and cuttings are grown in my greenhouse.

So that’s my round up, quite a lot of positives, but as always, many things to improve on.

2015 will provide a further challenge as I’ve been invited to open the garden (for the third time) for the local biennial ‘Secret Gardens’ event, where a dozen or so gardens open on the day of the village fete in June, in aid of the local hospice.

Furthermore, my daughter turns 18 in late July and is talking about having a party in the garden before school breaks up.  However, I don’t suppose a group of tipsy teenagers will prove to be quite such discerning garden visitors as the June lot!

Here’s wishing you all a happy and floriferous 2015.

 

End of month view – June 2014

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Well, what a balmy June.  However, partly as a consequence of this balminess, I feel like the garden has got away from me this month.  There has been too much indulging in garden visiting (there have been others, watch this space…) and just not enough proper graft.  One thing I have spent a significant amount of time doing is watering – especially all my pots.

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Whilst others around the country have had some significant downpours, we’ve had nothing but the odd shower and as a consequence I’m developing arms like Popeye from carrying endless watering cans around.  Whilst we’re lucky enough to have a well (and associated complicated pump and holding tanks) the water pressure isn’t high enough to use a hose, hence the endless cans – and impressive muscles!

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So, having made my excuses, here we go.  The first picture is the grass bed.  I still love the Stipa tenuissima, but the rest of the bed is looking rather a mess.  The hope was that the dark nasturtium (Nasturtium Black Velvet) would pick up on the dark orange of the buds of the fox and cubs, but the latter seem to be going over, and rather than orange I have numerous tiny dandelion type seed heads, which don’t go with anything.

On a more positive note, behind the fox and cubs, but in front of the grasses, I’ve planted a whole row of the Verbascum chaixii album which I grew from seed last year.  These are just starting to flower so hopefully by next month I will have pulled out the spent fox and cubs and have some towering verbascums to admire.

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This is the left hand swing bed, which is looking a bit exhausted.  I haven’t pulled up the foxgloves yet in the hope that they’ll self seed, but the combination of them, the brown Nectoscordum heads and my very poorly Euphorbia wulfenii is not good.  However, hopefully some concerted effort in pulling all the above out, cutting back the geraniums (out of shot at the front of the picture), and giving some space, food, time and water to various annuals I’ve planted out recently (Cosmos Rubenza, Malope, Cleomes) as well as the existing Astrantia, Roses and Penstemons, will pull things back from the brink.

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The ‘Med Beds’ (ie Mediterranean) either side of the greenhouse door are looking rather better.  The Geranium and Potentilla are flowering well, the Eryngium are preparing themselves and I’ve planted out many of the Agapanthus I grew from seed.  I don’t suppose they’ll flower this year, but fingers crossed for next.  I’m also pleased with the Euphorbia mysinites (at the front), which I also grew from seed and must now be about four years old.

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This is the left hand Lavender Bed, the ones described as ‘bonkers’ in last month’s End of month view.   (Both lavender beds are shown in the foreground of the top photo).

Here you can see the old Allium Purple Sensation dead heads in amongst the lavender.  The colour of the lavender is picked up by the Veronicastrum behind, with a yellow flowering Euphorbia for contrast (and the ubiquitous Verbena bonariensis)

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The shady bed is continuing to look lush, despite the hot weather, and the inherited rose is flowering well

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and the hostas were also looking great, right up until the scaffolders came and planted their scaffold and ladder on them.

IMG_3666A new addition this month is my raised cutting beds which were made out of some repurposed greenhouse staging.  I’m a bit concerned as to how shallow they are, but whenever I pull up annuals at the end of the season the roots never go very deep so I hope with food and water they’ll do ok.  I’ve already cut some Amaranthus viridis, Molucella laevis as well as the Marigold, Calendula Sunset Buff, but the vast majority are still to come.

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Meanwhile, in the veg bed, the Diving Lady’s pool runneth over (and is being invaded by courgette leaves), but at least she now has plenty to look at:

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As well as three different sort of courgettes (yes, I know, too many altogether), I’ve planted French Beans (Cobra), Runner Beans (Painted Lady and Polestar), Chard Bright Lights, Cavalo Nero, Mange Tout, Sugar Snap peas and Pumpkin Munchkin.

IMG_3671I’ve finally planted out the greenhouse bed with tomatoes, cucumbers and, for the first time, Cucamelons.

IMG_3670And on the staging, second waves of beans and peas (which need to go out), various seedlings (the ones in the foreground are Abutilons) and cuttings, as well as in the grow bags some (rather diminutive) peppers and aubergines.

IMG_3643The wisteria is kindly providing a second flush, and the Oak Bed, which I always find disappointing, is actually looking rather calm in the heat of June.

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And to finish, the most exciting development.  After some weeks’ persuasion, the OH has finally agreed that we can lose some lawn to make another bed (see hose line below) as long as ‘he doesn’t have to dig it’.  Wish me luck!

With many thanks, as ever, to Helen at the Patient Gardener,  for hosting everyone’s End of Month views.

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May

IMG_2303 (2)Eleagnus ‘Quicksilver‘ with (I think) Green Orb-Weaver spider.  I had never noticed the flowers before, so thank you GBBD for making me look!

Last month I said was all about the tulips, and whilst every other tulip is long gone, my gorgeous Angeliques are still flowering, so I think they deserve a final curtain call.

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Also in pots (as well as those on the barrow) I’ve got lots of pelargoniums and maguerites.

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I’ve also taken a couple of photos of flowers on the succulents,

but the big news has to be the number of roses coming into bloom.  These three were inherited, so I’m afraid I don’t know the names,

but these were all planted by me in the last three or four years, and they’re finally starting to look properly established – Madame Gregoire Staechelin

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Rosa Korizont

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and Rosa St Swithun

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This Veronica prostrata is another plant that looks much more settled than it did last year.IMG_2311

I love the colour of this Potentilla, I think it’s Potentilla nepalensis ‘ShogranIMG_2262

The Cerinthes are just getting better and better, here with Erysmum ‘Winter Orchid’IMG_2294

However, I’m not entirely sure about this Clematis, Josephine, I think she may be a little too showy for my likingIMG_2278

On a rather more subdued note, a dark Aquilegia with Nectoscordum siculum.  I’m not convinced about the Nectoscordum either, but for the opposite reason – I’m not sure it’s showy enough – but it’s so perennial I don’t have the heart to rip it out.IMG_2327

I certainly wouldn’t want to be without my Allium Purple SensationsIMG_2307 (2)

But to finish, my first sweet pea – the Tangier Pea, Lathyrus tingitanus.  which I wrote about in January.  How the year’s flying by…

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With thanks again to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting GBBD.

 

End of month view – April 2014

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This is my first post joining in with Helen’s ‘End of month view’ meme at the Patient Gardener and it’s also the ‘big reveal’ of areas of the garden as yet kept under wraps.

Firstly, (and nothing to do with the end of month view as she’s there all year) meet the ‘Lady Diver’, another Denis Fairweather sculpture bought for our 25th Wedding Anniversary to keep the ‘Gentleman Bather’ company (see Don’t f-stop me now).  Unfortunately when we got them side by side we realised they were a slightly different scale and didn’t work together, so the lady has been moved to preside over the veg patch.  In retrospect this is probably the secret of a happy relationship – a certain amount of distance!

In this shot you can see the two ‘swing beds’ and at the rear of the picture, the ‘grass bed’.  The highlights of the swing beds this month have been the Euphorbia characias Wulfenii, forget me nots and the Avignon tulips – some in pots and some in the ground.  However, whilst I love these tulips in isolation (they look great in a pot my the front steps), I have found the fact that they clash with both the crab apple blossom (now over) and the pot of pink marguerites (almost in the centre of this picture) rather disconcerting, and I think next year they’ll be replaced by something equally bright but better toning.

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Working east from the swing beds is the strawberry bed which sits below the Lady Diver.  The soil in the bed has definitely sunk considerably since the beds were built four years ago, and this year I meant to dig out the strawberries (which have been in since that time, and are now rather congested) give them a sort out, top up the soil and replant, but somehow with a poorly ankle it just didn’t get done, and now I look and they’re already flowering.  Too late for this year I feel.

Above the strawberries is the main veg bed full of nothing but promise.

IMG_2081 I have hundreds of seedlings growing in the greenhouse destined for here, but this year I’m considering scaling back the veg and scaling up the flowers for cutting.  At the moment the seedlings would easily fill a plot ten times this size, so some difficult decisions will need to be made (or I need to find more space somewhere…)

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Nearer the house than strawberry bed (you can see the strawberry bed at the back of this picture) are the two troughs.  The daffodils are now very nearly over, but the lovely stocks are continuing. Sitting on the swing yesterday I had a sudden burst of inspiration as to what I can do about the dying daffodil foliage – turn the troughs around by 180 degrees.  This should hide the foliage by putting it behind the stocks, put also, it makes sense as at the moment, the emerging Allium Purple Sensations are actually coming up in front of the stocks.  Turning the troughs around would put them behind the stocks.  And come next spring, I can reverse the whole process.  Sounds foolproof, all apart from finding someone strong enough to lift them!

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Sitting on the decking above the troughs is a cold frame made out of some unused windows.  It never got closed this winter as it’s full of hardy things, generally grown from seed by me, including lots of both Verbascum chiaxii Album and Agapanthus.  I desperately need to get planting so that I can 1. free up the space for hardening off and 2. free up the pots for potting on.

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At the westerly end of the decking the OH created a small new bed which has become home for my lovely daylilies bought from Nick at White Cottage Daylilies, just across the harbour in Bembridge.  Obviously the daylilies aren’t doing much at the moment but the Cerinthe (which self seeded and overwintered) is stunning, and I love the little silvery Sedum.

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This is looking due south from the daylily bed towards the chicken shed.  Sadly the chickens got killed by a fox last year and we haven’t yet replaced them.  However the shed is providing a useful support for the Montana flowers.

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The garden is really east and west of the house (at either side, rather than front and back) and the drive is in the middle.  The drive bed, above, which previously was looking very ‘springy’ with lots of daffodils, pulmonaria and a few bluebells, is now looking a little tired apart from the Erysimum.  However there are Alliums to come and then i’ll pop in something I’ve grown from seed.

At the west side of the drive (alongside the porch) is the east facing herb bed.  Many of the herbs survived over the winter – most noticeably the parsley, which goes from strength to strength.

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And round the corner from the herbs, facing north, is the hosta bed.

IMG_2061I’m afraid the ‘Slug Gone’ hasn’t been a complete success as some of the hostas have got a little chewed, but they’re filling out nicely and I’m trying to resist the temptation to reach for the little blue granules…

Further back behind the house is the shady bed:

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The Old Pheasant’s Eye daffs are the highlight here, although there are ferns and hostas emerging (including Blue Mouse Ears, hurrah!)

And at the end of the drive, facing the road, is the greenhouse, but that needs a post all of its own.

To the west of the drive and in front of the house, there is a small lawn, a table, (where the wisteria is) and the so called ‘oak bed’ because the bed spends almost all of its time shaded by the over-the-road oak .  The beds are fine in spring as they get more light, but in the summer once the oak is in leaf I do find them challenging.  My biggest success has been planting a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (just coming into leaf in the left hand picture), but otherwise the bed is dominated by a large viburnum I’d like to have out, and, at this time of year, a lot of green perennial foliage.

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At the border with our neighbours is my lovely Melianthus major, and also our Wisteria, extending its influence next door.

And lastly, some tender plants I’ve recently moved out from the greenhouse, are also at this end of the garden –  firstly a shallow bowl which sits on top of a large olive oil jar and then a series of succulents in pots in a lovely old wire ‘carrier’ bought from the gorgeous Petersham Nurseries, close to where we used to live.

Many thanks to Helen for hosting this meme, check out her ‘End of the month view’ using the link at the top.